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San Diego Real Estate Buyers Essentials

How to I find the right Buyer's Agent?  How to do sift through all the agents?

First ask what area do they cover or specialize in.  If your agent says they cover all of San Diego County chances are they are an expert in nothing.  A valuable real estate agent knows the area, subdivisions, market value, time on the market, whether the homes is priced right, any issues with excessive short sales or foreclosures in the neighborhood, tide information or erosion on the beach, etc.  If they don't and can't answers those types of questions then you may need to choose another agnet.

Also, as well as educating yourself about the home-buying process from credit scores and mortgages to close of escrow, ask your agent.  A good agent will know various lenders and some of their criteria or if your situation is unique, they will be able to help guide you to the experts you need to be in touch with to get the best home financing options for you and your situation.

As a home buyer you will need to have a good understanding of the kind of neighborhood you want, the size and configuration of the home you need, what your budget, how much are you putting down, time constraints or specific schools you must have.  These are some things your agent is going to need to know so have this information together to discuss with the agent you choose.

Some Pointers for Buyers

  • Don't hire an agent you meet by chance at an open house, be sure and check out the agent, Linkedin, Zillow, Truilia, etc.  verify they have been in business for sometime and that they are full time agents.   California has over 140 Addendums to the contract, a real estate transaction in California is a complicated and a professional knowledgeable agent is going to make things a lot simpler and smoother and will be there looking out for your interests.

 

  • It's a better idea to get several recommendations from friends, family members, co-workers, and others you trust who also have recently used that agent to buy or sell a home and had a satisfactory experience.  Over 80% of my business has been from client recommendation. I am happy to provide references my clients include everything from 1st time home buyers, investors, to excecutive luxury properties.

 

  • Ask your prospective agent to provide you with a referral or recommendation of one or two other agents they consider top-notch agents who can assist you with your real estate needs.  It's a question most agents won't expect, but if he or she refuses to answer, there are plenty of agents who will.   If it is not a good fit then this question will provide you with others to interview, it also tests the agents' honesty and integrity.

 

  • All states regulate and license real estate agents and brokers. Agents need only meet minimum levels of state-mandated education, training and testing. Brokers, who generally oversee agents, have more training, education and experience. Ask for proof. The license offers you a layer of consumer protection should something go wrong.  I am a licenses Broker in CA #1901774 as well as in NC #187352 and SC #1873 with over 15 years experience. 

     

  • Trade group sanctioned credentials and designations indicate don't guarantee professionalism or expertise.  Do your research on background, years in real estate business and recommendations from past clients. 
  • As you are aware from your own experience, there is nothing quite like time-honored in-the-field, on-the-job experience. It's your job to learn what your prospective agent has learned.

 

  • Once you've selected several real estate agents, let each know you want to interview him or her for 45 minutes to an hour. Ask for a resume or portfolio, just as any good employer would do. Later, you can talk in person or on the telephone. Arranging the interview is a test of the agent's willingness to spend time with you.  From that you will get a sense if it is a good fit.  Many times buyers just want to see a house.  Take the time to make sure it is a good fit and realize this is one of the largest investments of your life and you deserve to have a good experience with someone who you know is looking out for you and your best interests.

 

  • During the interview with your prospective agents, explain your needs, how you like to work, email, texts, phone calls, times best to discuss homes or best times to view.  What you like and don't like and what you expect.  It allows you to get the service you are looking for and the agent then knows what is expected.   
  • Also, make sure to ask your gent about mortgages, including special loan programs, new loan programs, creative financing, mortgage brokers and lenders and other financial details specific to your needs. Also ask about insurance and taxes.

 

  • The real estate transaction is an esoteric entanglement of details, tasks and duties. Get the agent to explain how he or she gets the job done. Ask about any computer-based systems used to keep the home buying search, sales marketing and transaction negotiations operating smoothly. Ask to see logs, checklists, worksheets and other tools or documents the agent uses to keep track of the details.

 

  • As a buyer ask about representation if they will strictly be your  buyer's agent, ask if a contract with fees is required. Also ask buyer's agents about the duration of any contracts, fees in lieu of commissions and other details. A true buyer's agent, an "exclusive buyer's agent" works only with buyers in a company, office or operation that does not sell homes and is more experienced in working with a buyer's best interests at heart.

  • As you ask questions and discuss your needs, consider how well the agent listens to your anxieties, fears and concerns. You want to feel that the agent cares more about your needs than collecting the commission or making a quota.

     

  • Ask to talk to past clients, both buyers and sellers.

  • Once you select an agent, don't double dip. Loyalty and time commitment is a two-way street. If your agent doesn't have your full attention, he or she may reciprocate. You'll also get a disconcerting array of advice and opinions at a time when, more than ever, you need straight talk.